White House troubled by Al Shabaab recruitment in U.S.

WASHINGTON Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:39pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials are closely watching efforts by Somalia's Al Shabaab group to recruit in the United States, but have no direct information that Americans were involved in the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, a U.S. official said on Monday.

"All we've seen are the same reports coming out of Al Shabaab ... but we have to run those to ground," White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters, when asked whether any Americans took part in the assault.

"We do monitor very carefully and have for some time been concerned about, efforts by Al Shabaab to recruit Americans or U.S. persons to come to Somalia," Rhodes told reporters traveling with the president to the United Nations.

"So this is an issue that has been tracked very closely by the U.S. government and it's one that we'll be looking into in the days ahead," he added.

(Reporting By Steve Holland, Roberta Rampton and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler)